Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) “will stir speculation about a potential 2020 presidential bid when he visits New Hampshire on March 24.
“Merkley, 61, known as a staunch progressive, is among about a dozen Democrats who have been mentioned nationally as possible contenders for their party’s presidential nomination in two years.” He will “keynote a New Hampshire Democratic State Committee meeting scheduled for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.
“He will also be a featured guest at a forum entitled, ‘Citizen Action Against Gerrymandering,’ at the University of New Hampshire School of Law in Concord. The forum is sponsored by the several progressive groups–the Capital Coalition, Open Democracy, New Hampshire Progressive Alliance, America Votes-NH and Granite State Progress.” (WMUR)
BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) “is unveiling legislation … that stakes his claim on where the Democratic Party should take the fight over the economy. The bill … would curb how companies do buybacks, forcing them to cut in workers on the action. The Worker Dividend Act would mandate that companies buying their own shares must also pay out to their own employees a sum equal to the lesser of either the total value of the buyback or 50 percent of all profits beyond $250 million.
“Most significantly, though, Booker’s bill isn’t a critique of the GOP tax bill. It’s a critique of the overall operation of an economic system that people on the left have long argued is systematically broken and stacked against everyone but the very wealthiest Americans.” (Vox)
CUOMO. “Cynthia Nixon is unlikely to beat Andrew Cuomo in the New York Democratic primary. But she’ll be the biggest demonstration yet of the visceral loathing and distrust of the governor among liberals that will clearly haunt him if he tries to run for president in 2020. … Cuomo has avoided any major strategic decisions about a potential bid for president. But he and his orbit understand that his problems with the left—however tribal it is, and however block-headed and unfair they believe it is—would be a problem if he does give it a go. Already, national operatives talk regularly about how they don’t like Cuomo or his politics, or that they know enough other people who don’t.” (Politico)
GARCETTI ON LATE NIGHT. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday, adding to a string of national Democrats who have appeared on comedy programs, including Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). (release)
INSLEE. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill on Tuesday “prohibiting the sale and use of bump stocks.” (release)
PATRICK. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) “won’t rule out a presidential run in 2020,” telling a public radio station in Kansas City “it’s on my radar screen.” (KCUR)
WARREN. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “spoke out Tuesday against legislation that would relax restrictions imposed on large and small banks after the 2008 financial crisis, cautioning that such changes could result in another economic recession.
“The Massachusetts Democrat … raised concerns about how the legislation could impact U.S. consumers and the economy during a Capitol Hill news conference. She further pledged to try and amend the bipartisan-backed bill, which is set to before the Senate this week, and urge lawmakers to oppose its passage.” (MassLive.com)
Meanwhile, she “criticized Democrats who voted to advance the current bill. ‘This bill wouldn’t be on the path to becoming law without the support of these Democrats,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘The Senate just voted to increase the chances your money will be used to bail out big banks again.’
“Democrats who support the bill—17 voted to advance the legislation on Tuesday—have argued that the dangers of its deregulatory measures are being blown out of proportion.” (Mother Jones)
INFRASTRUCTURE. “As the White House struggles to finance an ambitious infrastructure plan, Senate Democrats are proposing one alternative—albeit one unlikely to pass muster with President Trump: rolling back the recently passed Republican tax overhaul.
“The proposal to be unveiled by Democratic leaders Wednesday would plow just over $1 trillion into a wide range of infrastructure needs, including $140 billion for roads and bridges, $115 billion for water and sewer infrastructure and $50 billion to rebuild schools. The spending would be offset by clawing back two-thirds of the revenue lost in the Republican tax bill by reinstating a top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, restoring the individual alternative minimum tax, reversing cuts to the estate tax, and raising the corporate income tax from 21 percent to 25 percent.” (Washington Post)
IMPEACHMENT BILLBOARD. “Mad Dog PAC, which has funded … impeachment billboards in Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, plans for the newest giant placard to run from March 19 until April 15 on East Shannondale Road near Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach. The billboard will be roughly two miles away from Trump’s lavish golf club, dubbed ‘the winter White House.’” (Newsweek)
POST-OBAMA POLITICS. “This is what the post-Obama era of black electoral politics looks like—and it is taking shape largely outside the daily headlines in Washington. Across the country, a wave of black candidates, strategists and grass-roots activists are making bold moves. This new cohort of black politicians is fiercely progressive and isn’t asking anyone’s permission to make their case before voters. By and large, they don’t come from privilege, with deep-pocketed donors at the ready or with their own millions to finance a run. It’s their humble beginnings, many say, that help them connect with voters, and not solely black ones. But they don’t duck race, either, opting for authenticity rather than kid gloves: Alongside their impatience with an ever-widening wealth gap and the shrinking of opportunity for all Americans, they are unapologetic about insisting on police accountability or rejecting a glorified history of the Confederacy.” (Washington Post)
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"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.
"The United States is preparing to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases" in Texas and Arkansas, "as federal officials struggled to carry out President Trump’s order to keep immigrant families together after they are apprehended at the border."
"House Republican leaders are further delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill, planning to make changes to the legislation for a vote next week. The news comes after a two-hour Republican Conference meeting Thursday, in which authors of the bill walked through its contents and members raised concerns about issues the bill doesn’t address, multiple GOP lawmakers said. Many members requested the addition of a provision to require employers to use the E-Verify database to cheek the legal status of their employees."